Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on The Reading Life
Click here to read “Apollo”
I have been reading the work of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for a few years. I have posted on two of her three novels, Half of a Yellow Sun and Purple Hibiscus as well as four of her short stories. I hope to read her latest novel Americanah by the end of next year. (A detailed bio and links to her short stories can be found on her website.)
“Apollo” is set in Enugu, in Southeastern Nigeria. The narrator as the story opens is just back from a visit to his parents. They are retired professors, he was their only child, born many years into the marriage. He notices his parents are reverting to folk beliefs they would have once scoffed at. On this latest visit they have news about a house boy they fired fifteen years ago, Raphael. He was arrested as a leader of a gang doing house robberies.
The narrator begins to think back about Raphael, he was only thirteen. His parents wanted him to focus on studies and love reading as they did. He wanted to learn Kung Fu. Raphael begins to teach him. We feel a possible sexual stirring.
I don’t want to spoil the second half of the story but you will see the narrator is still troubled by an incident from long ago. Plus you can learn why the story is called “Apollo”, space travel is not involved.
This is a very interesting story, about memory, relationships with ageing parents, class markers all subtly done.
Please share your experience with the work of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie with us.
I never knew that Adichie had written short stories too. I am curious to read this. I have read her 'Americanah' which I adored and her 'We Should All Be Feminists'. I have now bookmarked two short stories you shared, Mel. I am going to read all of it soon. Thank you!
Deepika. Check out her webpage, there are links to stories there. Glad to hear you like Americanah, I hope to read it next year, thanks for your comments
Hi Mel, I read 'Apollo' now. Thank you for sharing. (The New Yorker tells me that I can read two more stories only for this month. I don't think I can afford to subscribe. So I am saving these stories like a squirrel.)
I love Adichie more after read ' Apollo'. Old age has made the narrator's parents tender. I liked how Adichie presented that transition of them being unkind and rigid to fragile people who believe in all sorts of stories. My heart is after Raphael.
And even in this short story and in just a few thousand words, Adichie takes us to her place, makes us have her food, and shares the intimate story of her people. She is a talented writer.
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